Polegate man wears huge placard in support of rail strikes

Michael Dyer with his one man rail protest placard (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-161123-082507008

Michael Dyer with his one man rail protest placard (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-161123-082507008

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A Polegate man has made a huge placard which he is wearing to show his support for the RMT strikes.

Michael Dyer, 66, can be seen with his board around town and has previously demonstrated at the strike at Eastbourne Railway Station to show his solidarity with rail workers in the ongoing dispute with Southern Rail.

His board says, “Southern Rail get out. Nobody wants you. Stop destroying people’s lives. We don’t want your death trap trains, or your bullying of staff and passengers.”

Mr Dyer said, “I get a lot of support from people, but I’m just trying to support the conductors. They are fighting for everybody.

“I’m hoping when drivers go on strike that will bring an end to it.

“With driver-only trains Southern cannot guarantee that a safety person would be on board. If they start doing that it will set a precedent, and they may get rid of all the guards like they got rid of restaurant staff on trains.

“They are penalising the sick, elderly and disabled, who may have to give four days’ notice before they can travel.

“I cannot believe it, I have never been so angry about anything in my life.”

On its website, Southern Rail says customers in need of assistance should ideally give 24 hours notice.

The RMT union has been locked in a bitter dispute over plans by Southern rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to change the role of guards to on-board supervisors, with drivers opening and closing train doors.

Conductors and drivers from the respective RMT and ASLEF unions have announced they will go on strike on December 6 to 8 (RMT conductors), December 13, 14 and 16 (ASLEF and RMT drivers), December 22 to 24 (RMT conductors), December 31 to January 2 (RMT conductors), and January 9 to 14 (ASLEF and RMT drivers).

Charles Horton, Govia Thameslink Railway’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “Passengers will be rightly furious that these wholly unnecessary and unjustified strikes have been called in the run-up to Christmas and in the New Year.

“Now ASLEF and the drivers want to compound that suffering by joining the fray in launching more pointless strikes.

“It’s perfectly safe for the driver to have sole responsibility for the operation of a modern train, and that’s how a third of the trains up and down the country - with the full agreement and support of ASLEF - already operate today.

“These strikes will have a devastating impact on the South East economy and people’s everyday lives which will bring Southern to a standstill.

“We urge the union to get round the table with us to continue our talks and resolve their dispute without causing further unnecessary grief to passengers.”

According to Southern, services are expected to be particularly disrupted on the drivers’ strike dates with no services on most routes, and there is also likely to be increased disruption over the Christmas and New Year period.

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